Clever marketing and solid advertising is something I truly appreciate and latch onto. I try to support companies that produce ads that I enjoy, such as Charmin toilet paper, Mott's Apple Juice and Dove soap. Subsequently, I boycott products who have truly awful campaigns - I'm talking to you Orbit Gum with that obnoxious, "Dirty mouth, clean it up," crap you pull. I am a sucker for great ads, infomercials, and strong campaigns. They make a lasting impression on me and influence how I spend my dollars.
In 1992, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association hooked me for life with the ever-so-simple and positively addicting, "Beef, it's what's for dinner." At nine-years old, I became positively hooked on this simple catchphrase and made every effort to shape my eating habits around it. As my culinary skills developed, I slowly became amazed at the versatility of the cow. Chicken, now there is a one-trick pony. And the pig, yeah you have your chops, loins, ribs, roasts and the essential Holy Trinity of bacon, sausage and ham. But the Cow surpasses both in terms of it's generosity in creating a meal plan with variety. You have roasts, steaks, sirloins, rounds, flanks, and ground chuck, which can provide for so many options on it's own. The selfless cow does not stop there though, he provides gorgeous hide for my couches, jackets, boots and belts, and he continues by sacrificing his hooves so my dog can have a treat to enjoy that smells like manure. Cow, I love you, I love eating you, I love wearing you and I love that a marvelous slogan came out making it more socially acceptable to devour you for dinner. And breakfast, lunch, and snack-time with your delicious jerky.
However, a few years ago I married a man who brought my lifestyle of beef consumption to a screeching halt. My husband does not care for red meat. How in the world does a girl who's blood type is "Grade A" from years of sweet cow consumption marry a man who does not like meat. It's sinful, a tragedy. But I've adapted and force one sweet, beefy dinner on him a week while suffering through pork, chicken and vegetarian night the rest of the week. Will suggested eating fish every now and then, but unless we are talking about shrimp, lobster or crab, I do not know how to prepare it. So we do not eat a lot of fish, unless it is served raw with a side of wasabi, in which you can order me double please!
So I've been existing on a decreased-beef lifestyle featuring chicken and pork but have made the best of it. It was fine, until I met my dietitian. She was looking at my eating habits for a few weeks and said there was simply too much red meat, as red meat is bad for you. LIES, I say!! Beef is what is for dinner, it's the most essential part of the food pyramid, please don't tell me those Cattlemen were lying when they imprinted their catchy slogan on my young brain, which clearly has brought them thousands in revenue from my pocket. However, she persisted. I had to cut even more red meat out, making it a "sometimes" food. Her suggested "sometimes" foods include cookies, bacon and chocolates. Cari's "sometimes" foods include celery, anything whole-wheat, and fat-free dairy products, (We all know fat-free dairy is a very poor impostor for the real stuff, calories be damned.) But in the spirit of trying to be successful with this whole get healthy shtick I am on, I agreed to forsake my loyalties to the cattlemen and start eating more fish. The non-deep fried in a golden beer batter type.
First attempt was a total bust. Last week, I bought some delicious looking tilapia filets and decided we were going go grill them. They marinaded in lemon, herbs and garlic and smelled amazing. They looked even better on that grill and I started to feel very optimistic about adding fish to my diet. Then Will went to flip the filets, and nearly half of the meat fell through the grill and singed in the burner. No biggie, I figured, as there was still plenty of fish left. I went in to finish the rest of dinner and left Will to manage the grill. Ten minutes later he comes in with this bowl that can only be described as Tilapia Hash. Apparently they just fell apart of the grill, he salvaged what he could but the results ended up looking like what I suspect is a McDonald's Fish Filet patty prior to being compressed into that square. We picked at it over dinner, trying to be optimistic and considering that next time we should use tin foil. However, it was completely lacking as a suitable dinner. Fortunately, at 11:30 that night I heard noises in the kitchen and noticed Will was not in bed. He was nice enough to share half of his Turkey sandwich with me.
So tonight we decided to give it another go with some salmon. I juiced the left-over key limes from last week's pie, mixed it with some melted butter and sent Will off to grill them and baste them. We adequately foiled the grill and could barely contain our excitement over the yummy salmon we were sure to enjoy. I am in the kitchen, making some veggies, and all I hear is, "BOOM!" I run outside to see the whole top of our grill on fire. Will is valiantly fighting the flames and quickly extinguishes them. The grill is fine. The salmon, not so much. In his basting, some of the butter-lime mix spilled onto the burners and the whole thing went up. Will was okay, but the same cannot be same for his eyebrows. We have resigned to the fact that perhaps we should not grill anymore fish. Or even try to cook it for that matter. My poor husband was nearly blown up trying to grill some salmon filets. Red meat never tried to blow him up. Dietitians may say beef will kill you, but clearly fish is the enemy in this household. When the salmon came off the grill, two pieces were blacker than tar, and two were still raw in the middle. So much for eating healthier meat.
I hope he makes peanut butter & jelly tonight.